A Lasting Legacy

Kate Harshberger ’91
Kate Harshberger ’91

Kate Harshberger ’91 was known as a faithful community volunteer and dedicated Radford University employee. When she passed away in March 2016, the Radford City community, her Radford University colleagues and her family acutely felt the loss of this kind and caring person.

“Kate had so much more to accomplish and give to the community. She left us too soon,” said her brother Christian Harshberger.

The family chose to honor Kate’s many significant contributions during her life by establishing the Kathryn S. Harshberger Scholarship in Early Education. “We saw this scholarship as a way both to honor Kate’s memory and to allow her contributions to continue. Radford University was both Kate’s alma mater and the focus of her most meaningful professional contributions — it just seemed right,” said her brother, Ted Harshberger.

Kate served as a teaching and research assistant to Radford University history faculty member Suzanne Ament and volunteered in a second-grade classroom to help children with reading and math. “Kate could teach anyone to read, and did so with Literacy Volunteers of America,” said her mother, Kathleen Harshberger ’80. Kate loved children, and they loved her.

“Anyone who knew Kate will instantly understand the relevance of this scholarship to her life. Her personal life centered on the care and education of children. I can’t think of a more appropriate focus for this scholarship — it will help deserving recipients to continue a mission that was very important to my sister and that filled her with joy while she was with us,” said Ted.

Thanks to generous donations from Kate’s family, friends and colleagues The Kathryn S. Harshberger Scholarship in Early Education was quickly fully endowed. “In a time of sadness, the positive focus and message of the scholarship — even the process of establishing and supporting it — has been a great comfort, especially to my mother and father,” said Ted.

“Our daughter never met a stranger and she made friends easily. People, especially children, were naturally drawn to her because she was always the happiest person in the room. Honestly, we just didn’t realize how many peoples’ lives she had touched so deeply until we read the over 300 personal handwritten notes we received in the days after her passing. Truly, we were overwhelmed,” said Kate’s father, Dick Harshberger.

“It was truly humbling. I think I can speak for all of us that we were amazed at how many people came forward with stories of how much Kate impacted their lives and for how long. We were, and are, so grateful to everyone for sharing these private moments and ensuring that we honor Kate with this scholarship,” said Christian.